Schoolcraft School Students Write their Own Stories

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Schoolcraft senior English Language Arts class members from left to right: Autumn Fitzsimmons, Anna Gerfen, teacher Tracey Branch, Chandler Miller, Phillip Stafford, South County News reporter Linda Lane, and Abby Blodgett.

By Sue Moore

Over the next seven months, the South County News will be publishing a news story that has been researched and written by English Language Arts classes in the Schoolcraft school system. The work will start with the 12th grade and move down through each grade, finishing with students in middle school.

It’s a continuation of a program organized by Matt McCullough, innovation director for the school district, who has pioneered partnerships with businesses in the community to help solve problems a company might be experiencing and see it through a student’s eyes.

Students have been assigned tasks such as recommending a variety of potato to plant last spring at the Walther Farms, to working with the Schoolcraft Historical Society on a project. Now the English classes are excited to get into the act with their newspaper assignment, McCullough said.

Each class will decide a story it wants to cover and will work as a team to pursue various leads for the story. It may work out that more than one story gets written by a classroom.

They will submit them to the teacher and the editors of the South County News for consideration. The plan is to keep it a secret as to which composition is chosen until they see it in the newspaper. They have been allotted a half page for the story and pictures each month.

The end result is that students get to be published journalists and gain an understanding of the writing craft. The teachers and students will “own” this section and write something that fits their learning level and still entertain the public, said McCullough in designing the program.

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